Patagon Journal has had an alliance with the Fly Fishing Show, the largest fly fishing event in the United States, for some four years now. This year we renewed that partnership. Ben Furimsky, the president and ceo of the Fly Fishing Show, spoke with us about the great success and some of the changes with this year’s events, which were held in seven cities from January through early March: Denver (CO), Marlborough (MA), Somerset (NJ), Atlanta (GA), Lynwood (WA), Pleasanton (CA), and Lancaster (PA).
What was new with the Fly Fishing Show this year? Who were some of the celebrities or fishing legends at the shows?
The big news this year was our move of the Southeastern show from Winston-Salem to Atlanta. We also added a new women’s venue to the Denver show. Across our seven locations, you can find most all of the fly fishing celebrities, such as Lefty Kreh, Gary Borger, Joe Humphreys, Bob Clouser, Bob Popovics, George Daniels, and many, many more.
How do you see the Fly Fishing Show evolving in the years ahead? Any changes planned?
We hope to see the shows grow in size and quality, of course. We have been seeing better manufacturer support over the last few years and hope to see that continue. We have been working hard to increase the attendance from the younger generations and women. This year had the new Atlanta location, so we don’t plan any new locations for 2018. However, we may be looking at expanding several of our current locations.
How many people normally go to the Show, and what has been the level of international involvement? Do you get a lot of exhibitors from Chile and Argentina?
Attendance depends on the location of our show, but overall we have nearly 45,000 people attend our shows. We do have several exhibitors from Chile and Argentina, with others being represented by agencies. Even more would like to attend, but unfortunately our shows here in the U.S. are during the busy season in the Southern Hemisphere.
Any new or recent developments in gear, or other noteworthy trends, in the fly fishing industry that people ought to look out for?
There are always trends going on, but many times they are nothing new, but re-developments. We have seen fiberglass rods become hot again. Some things that are hot in the techniques area are wet flies and streamers. Jungle fishing has been hot, as well as Cuba with the improved relationships between the U.S. You can find most everything at the shows, and there are always presentations on the hot new topics as well.
How has your own been going? Last time we did an interview, back in 2013, you had mentioned you had recently done some great fishing in New Zealand on South Island. Any recent adventures worth sharing with us?
Ah, that was a great trip and I’ve been day dreaming about getting back to New Zealand. I recently had an invite to get down to Patagonia. I would really like to go, but as of today, I’m not sure the dates will work for me. I do want to get down to the southern reaches. This year I did an amazing trip into the upper reaches of the Amazon with Jeff Currier. There was a film made on this trip called “Kendjam” and it is featured in the IF4 film festival. I also checked out two new areas in Cuba and had some fantastic flats fishing. The jungle fishing in the Amazon is very diverse and usually quite productive. I would say to keep an eye on this because it should be fairly accessible from Patagonia.